2019 SLC Annual Meeting

Preliminary Program Agenda

SLC 2019 Logo

All substantive policy sessions, workshops and events will be held at the Sheraton New Orleans.

(Clicking on the individual sessions below will bring up additional details.)

Attending substantive committee sessions may qualify for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for state government officials in SLC member states. Substantive committee sessions are identified with a superscript CLE following the session title. Forms and further information will be available on-site at meeting registration.

Saturday, July 13

7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.


11:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Staff Workshop CLE

3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Executive Committee Session

7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Opening Reception

Sunday, July 14

7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Committee Sessions CLE


Breaking the Grass Ceiling: Hemp Cultivation and the 2018 Farm Bill

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, established important changes for the hemp industry, defining hemp as an agricultural commodity, removing it from the list of federally controlled substances and making hemp farmers eligible for crop insurance. Furthermore, it directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue regulations and guidance to implement a framework for the commercial production of hemp, including authorizing USDA to accept plans from state departments of agriculture to monitor and regulate hemp production. This session overviews the hemp provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill and what states may expect in forthcoming USDA regulations.

Missed Connections: Expanding Broadband Access in Southern States

Access to reliable, high-speed internet is vital to almost every aspect of the nation’s economy. Communities with broadband access enjoy a wide array of economic, educational, public health and social advantages. However, a recent Microsoft study found that of 34 million Americans who lack broadband access, 22.4 million live in rural areas. Often compared to the electrification of rural America, the push to expand broadband access has gained momentum across the South. This session explores recent broadband expansion initiatives in SLC states.


The Intersection of Cyber Security and Economic Development

In 2018, there were more than 310,000 cyber security job openings across the United States. Nearly 120,000 of the unfilled positions, approximately 38 percent of the national total, were located in the SLC region. As the cyber security industry continues to grow, and the threat of cyber attacks on governments and companies becomes increasingly sophisticated, state and local leaders should seek opportunities to advance the cyber security industry. By leveraging the private sector, law enforcement and higher education institutions, states can ensure they have the capacity and resources to strengthen cyber defense programs. In the process, they can bolster economic growth and support workforce development initiatives. This session explores policies that state and local leaders can consider to encourage growth in the cyber industry and highlights a unique cyber center in the region that can serve as a model for other states.

Legislative Roundtable

The Legislative Roundtable highlights important economic development, transportation and cultural affairs issues taken up in SLC member states during recent legislative sessions. Members from each state brief the Committee on new measures undertaken in their respective states. This provides policymakers with the opportunity to share their experiences with others facing similar challenges and opportunities, exchange ideas, and serves as a foundation for substantive policy discussions.


An End to Dead Ends: The Benefits of Complementary Postsecondary Pathways

In the United States, traditional universities, community and technical colleges and vocational training frequently are viewed as competing interests. However, evolving postsecondary education models more often view them as complementary partners. Allowing students to pursue multiple educational and training pathways, without encountering dead ends, provide multiple opportunities for crossover. In this changing and competitive economy, opportunities for students to transition from vocational or technical training to applied or traditional degree programs – and vice versa – are an imperative. The blending of traditional and technical education also allows students the opportunity to “earn while they learn” and gain practical experience. This session examines how structuring complementary postsecondary systems can open multiple pathways for students, allowing for both academic and career success.

10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

SLC/Taylor Barras Campaign Against Hunger

noon - 1:30 p.m.

Women in Leadership Forum

2:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Committee Sessions CLE


The Economic Impact of LNG Exports in Southern States

Investments in liquified natural gas (LNG) facilities have taken off in recent years, driven by a glut of cheap domestic natural gas and increasing global demand for a cleaner burning alternative to coal. The value of U.S. LNG exports is expected to reach $12 billion in 2019 as the European Union seeks to lessen member states’ dependence on Russian gas. By 2025, the United States is expected to be the largest LNG exporter in the world. This session explores the LNG export landscape and economic impact in the Southern region.

Grid Modernization in Southern States

Modernizing the nation’s electric grid is a strategic imperative. As states increasingly push clean energy policies, a number also are investigating how business models may be adapted for emerging resources and to improve the reliability, resiliency and efficiency of the electric grid. In 2018, 11 of the 15 SLC member states took regulatory or legislative action on broad grid modernization or utility business model reform, including issues of advanced metering infrastructure, storage deployment, data access and revenue reforms. This session explores policies to encourage utility investments necessary to modernize the electric grid.


New and Expanded Revenue Streams

As advances in technology both create new and remake existing markets, states are looking to regulate and tax these sectors. These areas include digital streaming services, electronic goods, ridesharing services and short-term rentals, among others. With consumers shifting to embrace this new economy and the market for digital goods and services growing exponentially, these emerging markets are replacing prior, and broadening existing, sources of state revenue. This session explores how states’ efforts to tax these new revenue sources and the economic impact these emerging markets could have on the Southern region.

Job Tax Credits and the Revitalization of Disadvantaged Areas

Despite steady post-recession economic recovery, many rural and disadvantaged areas have not benefited from proportional growth. This is especially evident in the South, where several states have yet to reach pre-recession levels of fiscal health. In addition to exploring new revenue streams, states are developing various fiscal policies to encourage investment and development in these areas. Job tax credits are one such measure under consideration, as states weigh both the economic benefits and costs of this fiscal policy. Since 2011, 14 of the 15 SLC member states have implemented job tax credits. This session discusses how states are implementing this fiscal policy to revitalize disadvantaged and rural areas.


Family First Prevention Services Act: An Overview

The Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act on February 9, 2018. The act reforms the federal child welfare financing streams – Title IV-E and Title IV-B of the Social Security Act – to provide services for those who are at risk of entering the child welfare system. The act aims to prevent children from entering foster care by allowing federal reimbursement to families for mental health services, substance abuse treatment and in-home parenting skills training beginning October 1, 2019. It also will improve the well-being of children by ensuring appropriate foster care placements and reducing the number of children placed in congregate care. This session provides a comprehensive overview of the Family First Prevention Services Act and details how it will impact states moving forward.

Human Trafficking and Exploitation

Human trafficking and exploitation is prevalent throughout the United States, part of a worldwide industry involving billions of dollars and millions of victims. Due to underreporting and the difficulty of identifying victims, there is no official estimate of the number of people trafficked nationally. However, tens of thousands of cases have been reported involving both US. citizens and foreign nationals. Traffickers frequently target vulnerable populations, including runaway and homeless youth, as well as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and social discrimination. This session highlights approaches to connecting services and treatment for victims of trafficking and exploitation and identifies actions taken in Southern states in recent years to combat this urgent problem.

Kathryn Moorehead, Director, Violence Against Women Act and Human Trafficking Programs, Office of the Attorney General, South Carolina

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills
October 5-9, 2019 | Little Rock, Arkansas

The Governmental Leadership Program of the Southern Office of The Council of State Governments

The Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills (CALS) seeks to create skilled, educated and confident state leaders in the Southern region. Join us to catch up with your CALS classmates or learn more about the program! Visit slcatlanta.org/CALS/ for more information and the online application.

6:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Family Night

Monday, July 15

7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Committee Sessions CLE


Power Portfolio Planning

Low natural gas prices and the increasing availability of renewable energy is transforming the energy generation landscape. As utilities plan future investments, they are tasked with developing a resource mix that meets customer demand while minimizing the total cost, environmental impacts and enterprise risk. This session explores the long-term resource planning strategies, perspectives and trends in the utility industry.

Legislative Roundtable

The Legislative Roundtable highlights important energy and environmental legislation taken up in SLC member states during recent legislative sessions. Members from each state brief the Committee on new measures undertaken in their respective states. This provides policymakers with the opportunity to share their experiences with others facing similar challenges and opportunities, exchange ideas, and serves as a foundation for substantive policy discussions.


Governmental Efficiency and Occupational Licensing Reform

In recent years, there has been a bipartisan push at both the state and federal levels to reform burdensome occupational licensing processes. These efforts mostly focus on creating a more efficient and comprehensive review process. Adding sunset provisions allowing legislative committees or taskforces to review the licensing process and determine if many such licenses are necessary, or whether they constitute an undue burden on either the state or licensees also is under review. Balancing concerns for necessary oversight and public protections, while reviewing existing regulations, along with licensure transferability, are key factors for policymakers. This session examines states’ efforts to increase government efficiency through regulatory reform and highlights recent licensing reform efforts in the South.

Legislative Roundtable

The Legislative Roundtable highlights important fiscal and governance issues taken up in SLC member states during recent legislative sessions. Members from each state brief the Committee on new measures undertaken in their respective states. This provides policymakers with the opportunity to share their experiences with others facing similar challenges and opportunities, exchange ideas, and serves as a foundation for substantive policy discussions.


Vaping and Electronic Cigarette Restrictions

Electronic cigarette usage has surged in recent years, with skyrocketing rates among youth and young adults posing a particularly worrisome challenge for public health officials. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.9 million middle and high school students were users of tobacco products in 2018, compared to 3.6 million in 2017. The sudden increase – driven mostly by the growth of e-cigarettes – impedes successful efforts in recent years to reduce youth tobacco usage. Although e-cigarettes have benefits for adult smokers who use them as substitutes for regular cigarettes, the CDC and U.S. Surgeon General warn they are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women and adults who do not already smoke. This session examines the many issues surrounding e-cigarettes and reviews actions taken in the South to address these concerns.

Legislative Roundtable

The Legislative Roundtable highlights important health and public safety issues taken up in SLC member states during recent legislative sessions. Members from each state brief the Committee on new measures undertaken in their respective states. This provides policymakers with the opportunity to share their experiences with others facing similar challenges and opportunities, exchange ideas, and serves as a foundation for substantive policy discussions.

10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Opening Plenary Session

noon - 1:30 p.m.


Sponsored by the Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations Committee

Prepared annually by legislative staff in Kentucky, Louisiana and West Virginia, comparative data reports track a multitude of revenue sources, performance measures, program variances and appropriations levels in the SLC member states. They remain invaluable tools for both legislators and legislative staff in crafting effective legislation and implementing policy decisions.

Adult Corrections

Monique Appeaning, Legislative Fiscal Office, Louisiana


Hank Hager, Senate Education Committee, West Virginia


Zachary M. Rau, Legislative Fiscal Office, Louisiana


Tammy Branham, Legislative Research Commission, Kentucky

2:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Committee Sessions CLE


Controlling the Feral Swine Population in Southern States

The feral swine population in America has surpassed five million and spread to 39 states, including every SLC state. Sometimes called wild boars, feral hogs, wild pigs or the “rototillers” of nature, they cause approximately $2.5 billion in damages and control costs each year. As feral swine spread, they devastate the lands they inhabit, destroying fences, uprooting crops and contaminating water supplies. This session assesses the impact of feral hogs in Southern states and some promising initiatives for controlling the population.

Where’s the Beef? The Changing Landscape of Meat Labeling Laws

From the Impossible Burger to lab-grown meat, engineered and plant-based products are growing in popularity across the country. In 2018, sales of plant-based meat substitutes increased to $1.5 billion, up 22 percent from the previous year. With this trend comes a host of labeling issues. In recent years, several SLC states have introduced legislation to prohibit the labeling of animal cultures, plants and insects as meat. This session explores future trends in meat production and regulation.


An Update on Transportation and Infrastructure Funding

In recent years, there has been a push across the South to expand funding for long-needed repairs on roads, bridges and mass transit systems. Since 2016, the majority of SLC state legislatures have agreed on transportation and infrastructure funding using a combination of higher fuel taxes, bond sales, tolls and additional fees for hybrid and electric vehicles to increase revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars annually for construction, maintenance and repairs. Amid ongoing uncertainties surrounding federal infrastructure funding, states have taken the initiative to address this important issue. This session reviews the measures SLC states have taken to boost transportation and infrastructure funding and highlights the implications for states if a federal infrastructure package is passed this year.

Distracted Driving Laws in Southern States

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving resulted in more than 3,400 deaths and 391,000 injuries in 2016, the last year for which national data is available. While there are many activities that cause a driver to be distracted behind the wheel, there has been a particular focus in recent years to mitigate distractions caused by phones and other handheld electronic devices. Fourteen of the 15 SLC states prohibit all drivers from texting while driving. However, only two have enacted statewide hand-held device bans for all drivers. This session explores the impact of distracted driving on transportation safety and examines how SLC states can standardize their laws to ensure maximum safety in the future.


The Importance of School Climate Monitoring

School climate monitoring involves a comprehensive assessment of student engagement levels, school safety and the learning environment, providing educators with the necessary data to identify school needs, set goals and track progress toward improvement. A positive school climate improves students’ mental and behavioral health, reduces disciplinary actions and reduces chronic absenteeism. It also is critical to school safety response and recovery as well as school violence prevention. Currently, 12 of the 15 SLC member states incorporate a school climate indicator for improvement or accountability purposes in their education accountability systems. This session discusses school climate monitoring, why it is important and how states are implementing school climate monitoring programs and crafting effective responses to climate reports.

Lessons from the National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development

In 2016, the nonpartisan Aspen Institute established the National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development to research how educators and policymakers can prepare students – socially, emotionally and academically – to navigate the complex, competitive and globally connected world. Consisting of leaders from the fields of education, scientific research, public policy, business and the military, the commission worked with student and parent groups to survey existing policies and identify areas of improvement. The commission’s final report recommends policymakers set a clear vision, foster and support the continuous improvement of learning environments, promote the development of educator capacity to support students’ needs, and align resources efficiently. This session examines the commission’s findings and explores how legislators can implement these recommendations in their states.

General Craig McKinley, Commissioner, National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, Florida

Legislative Roundtable

The Legislative Roundtable highlights important education issues taken up in SLC member states during recent legislative sessions. Members from each state brief the Committee on new measures undertaken in their respective states. This provides policymakers with the opportunity to share their experiences with others facing similar challenges and opportunities, exchange ideas, and serves as a foundation for substantive policy discussions.

6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Program Interval

9:00 - 11:30 p.m.

2020 Host State Reception: North Carolina

Tuesday, July 16

7:30 - 10:00 a.m.


8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Closing Plenary & Business Breakfast Session

Executive Committee

Meets upon conclusion of the Closing Plenary

10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.


The SLC State Transformation in Action Recognition (STAR) award identifies and promotes innovative ideas and programs from the Through the State Transformation in Action Recognition (STAR) award, the Southern Office of The Council of State Governments recognizes creative, impactful, transferable and effective state government solutions. The recognition is sought by a wide array of state agencies, departments, and institutions operating within the executive, legislative and judicial governmental branches. Each year, two exceptional programs are selected by a panel of experienced policy professionals as models of innovation and effectiveness in state government in the Southern region.

11:15 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Committee Site Visits


The Port of New Orleans

The Port of New Orleans is a multimodal gateway, uniquely situated on the Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico. The port’s strategic location allows easy access to more than 30 major inland hubs via 14,000 miles of waterways, six Class I railroads and interstate roadways.  The port generates approximately $100 million in annual revenue through four lines of business – cargo, rail, cruises and industrial real estate. Port-generated industries support one in five jobs in Louisiana, with average annual salaries of $74,000 for companies located on the port’s property. This site visit offers committee members a valuable opportunity to receive briefings from officials about the port’s significance to Louisiana and the wider region, as well as participate in both land and water tours to see the port’s many facilities.

6:00 - 10:00 p.m.

Reception & State Dinner

Please note, this event is intended for guests age 18 and over.

Wednesday, July 17

6:00 a.m. - noon